In Tip 26, I suggested that parents encourage summer reading by tying it to fun summer activities. If your kids love ice cream, ask them what they think about planning an “ice cream only day” one time this summer. If they’re over-the top excited about it, set a date and go for it! Here are 7 ways to connect “ice cream only day” to literacy:
- Put the kids in charge of planning for it!
What do they plan to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? What food items do they
need? So that their plans are carried out correctly, perhaps they want to write menus. Or maybe a shopping list for what is needed at the grocery store!
- Read ice-cream themed books. Here are a few of the kids’ favorites:
- Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book (Ben Cohen)
- From Cow to Ice Cream (Bertram Knight)
- From Milk to Ice Cream
- Ice-cream Bear (Jez Alborough)
- Ice Cream: The Full Scoop (Gail Gibbons)
- I Scream! Ice Cream!: A Book of Wordles (Amy Rosenthal)
- Scream for Ice Cream (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #2) (Carolyn Keene)
- Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (Mo Willems)
- The Ice Cream Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #94) (Gertrude Warner)
- The Chocolate Sundae Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #46)(GertrudeWarner)
- The Ice Cream Kid: Brain Freeze! (Todd Clark)
- The Ice Cream King (Steve Metzger)
- The Ice Cream Store (Denis Lee)
- The Sundae Scoop (MathStart 2) (Stuart Murphy)
- Wemberly’s Ice-Cream Star (Kevin Henkes)
- Search the internet for interesting information about ice cream. Google together “ice cream facts” and see what you find.
- Write a fictional story about ice cream, or write a new last page or a sequel to one of your ice cream books.
- Following a recipe that your kids help to read, make homemade ice cream!
- Get your hands on a recipe book for making fun ice cream treats. Charge them with looking through it and finding a recipe, and then read it aloud and make it together! We enjoyed using I Scream Sandwich: Inspired Recipes for the Ultimate Frozen Treat (by Jennie Schacht).
- Step back, and let your kids create their own ice cream treat concoction! Then, ask them to make a recipe for it so that it can be made again. Or, even better, they can write their own “how to” book for it, with pages for each step and illustrations or photos. Remember, “how to” books usually have a “materials” section and then the steps in order (often with numbers or using sequence words such as first, next, then)
In Our Family… In a matter of two summers, this has become a family tradition that I’m pretty sure my kids will make sure happens every year. Last year, my daughter asked whether we could have “just one day” where they get to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My immediate response was of course “absolutely not”. To which she said, “Why not, what harm can just one day do?” My no quickly switched to a yes, we set a date, and the kids thought it was the “best day of the the summer”. They all asked if we could have an “ice cream only day” every summer. How could I say no to something that seemed to generate so much joy?!
The kids started talking about this summer’s ice cream only day before summer even began. It was the first item on their “summer bucket list” (see Tip #2). We set a date at the start of summer, and they seemed to have many conversations about their plans for each meal. On their own, they each made menus, and my youngest made a grocery list so we knew what to get at the market. In the week prior, we designated a basket of books for ice cream only day reading, and we looked through our own shelves to find related books. We also visited the library to add to our collection. Last year, my husband and I lasted two ice cream meals and then snuck out to dinner on our own, but this year the kids were adamant that we joined them for all three meals. So, we had ice cream sundaes with fruit for breakfast, visited Archie’s (our local ice cream store) for lunch, made homemade ice cream in the afternoon, and then made super-sized chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches for dinner. (After they went to bed, I had to get in a real meal!) The ice cream books made their way downstairs close to the kitchen table, so our meals included some reading aloud about ice cream–stories and informational books about the history of ice cream and how it’s made. (I even read and enjoyed Laura Weiss’ Ice Cream: A Global History and shared some fascinating ice cream facts with the kids as I read). While we were at Archie’s, we searched the internet for facts about ice cream — and we learned that July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July is actually National Ice Cream Day. It was a funny coincidence that we were actually doing our ice cream only day on National Ice Cream Day, though it seemed to give the kids a sense of legitimacy to their invented tradition.
Essentially any summer activity can be tied to literacy, especially when the kids are so excited about it. My kids take their “all ice cream day” seriously, so their reading and writing actually becomes functional — they’re doing it to plan, to communicate, to get their day right. If ice cream won’t do that for your kids, decide with them on an “all something day” that they will embrace with such enthusiasm — it’s worth it!